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Mike Sorensen: Can you believe the trade the Jazz just pulled off?

So I was watching one of the sports channels the other night when I caught the end of one of those running tapes at the bottom of the TV screen. It read "traded for Kirk Snyder, Curtis Borchardt and Raul Lopez."

Hmm, who did the Jazz trade those three players for, I wondered? It must be a shooting guard and a decent one at that, considering the Jazz were giving up three former first-round draft choices.

I anxiously looked it up on the Internet but I couldn't believe my eyes. The Jazz had acquired Greg Ostertag.

Greg Ostertag?

Was this a joke, like one of those fake stories you see every April 1?

Are you kidding me?

No, it was accurate. The big lug Jazz fans couldn't wait to get rid of for nine long years was indeed coming back to the Jazz.

So much for Utah's youth movement.

OK, it's true the Jazz always had a winning record when big "O" was on the team, even the year after Stockton and Malone left. But still, Greg Ostertag?

Does Jerry Sloan know about this?

Perhaps this move will improve the Jazz's defense and maybe the Jazz have another move up their sleeve that will bring them the much-needed shooting guard (hey, maybe they'll bring back Alexsander Pavlovic, their first-round draft choice in 2003).

But it's hard to imagine that Ostertag will suddenly be better now at the age of 32 than he was at ages 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 when he played for the Jazz.

How would Jazz fans feel about the following lineup?

Tony Parker, Michael Redd, Tayshaun Prince, Josh Howard and Josh Smith.

A little on the small side, perhaps, but it's a young lineup with a lot of upside with potential all-stars in Parker and Redd, a solid defensive player in Prince and a pair of young talented forwards in Howard and Smith.

Knowing full well that it's very easy to second-guess after the fact, but the preceding five-player lineup is a one the Jazz could have drafted since 2000, despite not having a draft pick better than No. 14 until this year.

Redd was drafted by Milwaukee No. 43 in 2000 (Jazz got DeShawn Stevenson at No. 23).

Parker was drafted No. 28 by San Antonio in 2001 (Jazz got Raul Lopez at No. 23).

Prince went No. 23 to Detroit in 2002 (Jazz got Curtis Borchardt at No. 18)

Howard was the 29th pick by Dallas in 2003 (Jazz got Pavolvic at 19)

And Smith was taken 17th by Atlanta out of high school in 2004, a spot behind Snyder and three behind Kris Humphries.

Of the six Jazz picks, only Humphries is still in Utah after Friday's shocking trade and his future isn't a sure thing.

Here are a few more of the players who were available for the Jazz to draft this century.

Mark Madsen and Marko Jaric in 2000 . . . Jamaal Tinsley, Gilbert Arenas and Mehmet Okur in 2001 . . . Dan Dickau and Carlos Boozer in 2002 . . . Luke Walton and Kyle Korver in 2003 and Chris Duhon in 2004.

OK, the Jazz have both Okur and Boozer, but if they'd drafted them, instead of signing them as free agents, they'd be paying each a heckuva lot less money right now.

The only solid pick the Jazz have had since getting Ostertag in 1995 (and we're not necessarily saying he was a solid pick) was in 1999 when they drafted Andrei Kirilenko No. 24.

Of course that was also the year, they drafted Quincy Lewis No. 19 and Scott Padgett No. 28 when they could have had a 6-6 forward out of Reggio Calabria, Italy, who was drafted No. 58 by San Antonio.

His name? Emanuel (Manu) Ginobili.


E-mail: sor@desnews.com